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The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies (10,000 BCE - 600 BCE)


A map of important city states in Sumer; Uruk, Babylon and Eridu
A map of important city states in Sumer; Uruk, Babylon and Eridu

Multimedia.pngA Crash Course in World History features a series of short videos by young adult author, John Green.

What is a ‘civilization,’ and what are the defining characteristics of a civilization?
A civilization is a group of people that share a common leadership, culture or social structure.

primary_sources.PNGPrimary Source Set: Early Civilizations through Decline of the Roman Empire, Middle Tennessee State University

For the characteristics of civilizations, see Massachusetts Curriculum Framework Grade 7.6


rotating gif.gifSee Influential Literature page for The Epic of Gilgamesh


Jade bear, Shang Dynasty
Jade bear, Shang Dynasty

I. Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of geographical and environmental settings where agriculture flourished.


Where did the earliest civilizations develop, and why did they develop in those locations?
They developed in Mesopotamia, Egypt, modern day Pakistan, and China. These civilizations were all located near rivers that flooded regularly. This allowed for feasible farming where people did not have to work as much for food, and they could settle down and lead sedentary lives.


How did civilizations develop and grow more complex before 600 BCE?
They did this by obtaining a food surplus. This would allow for specialization, which means there are people in society that are not involved in agriculture. Now it was possible to have soldiers, politicians, priests and artisans, and as a result, have a more complex society.

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 12.06.19 PM.pngHere is a link to a game on being a farmer in ancient Sumer

What is a “state?” Who ruled the early states, and which segments of society usually supported the ruler?
A state is a group of governing bodies that come together to regulate food production and distribution. Early states were led by either military or religious leaders. Rulers were said to have connections to the spiritual world and be able to control nature.
.

Students should be able to identify the location of ALL of the following required examples of core and foundational civilizations:

  • Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys
  • Egypt in the Nile River Valley
  • Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley
  • Shang in the Yellow River or Huang He Valley
  • Olmecs in Mesoamerica
  • Chavin in Andean South America

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.pngTimeline: Classroom Technology from Papyrus to iPads

A. Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys


Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley.
Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley.

For more, see Ancient Mesopotamian, This History, Our History

Massachusetts_state_seal.png For more on important achievements of Mesopotamian civilization, see Massachusetts Curriculum Framework Grade 7.10

Multimedia.pngMesopotamia: Crash Course World History #3



Mesopotamia on Ancient History Encyclopedia

external image Abiword_Mac.pngClick here for an essay on the development of writing systems in world history. See also

external image Red_apple_from_top.jpgAncient World Writing Systems from Syracuse University Libraries.


B. Egypt in the Nile River Valley

Image result for egyptian river valley map
Image result for egyptian river valley map

File:Ancient Egypt.png
File:Ancient Egypt.png

timeline2_rus.svg.pngTimeline of Ancient Egyptfrom the Children's University, Manchester, England.

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngFor more on the important achievements of Egyptian civilization, see Massachusetts Curriculum Standard Grade 7.16

Multimedia.pngAncient Egypt: Crash Course World History #4

multicultural.pngThe New York Times article about a possible same sex couple buried in an ancient Egyptian tomb together
Egypt on Ancient History Encyclopedia





C. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley


rotating gif.gifSee Special Topic Page on Indus Valley Civilization

Multimedia.png

Indus Valley Civilization on Ancient History Encyclopedia



D. Shang in the Yellow River or Huang He Valley

Multimedia.png Youtube video about the Shang Dynasty

shang-dynasty-map1.gif.jpg
Shang Dynasty, Yellow River Valley

Click here for a short overview of the Huang He River Valley civilization from teachers and students in Virginia.

external image Red_apple.jpgShang Bronzes: A Window into Ancient Chinese Culture (1523 B.C. - 1028 B.C.) from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.


E. Olmecs in Mesoamerica
Location map of Olmec Archeological sites. Map on Wikimedia Commons by Fabienkhan.
Location map of Olmec Archeological sites. Map on Wikimedia Commons by Fabienkhan.




File:Chavin-small.png
File:Chavin-small.png





















Here is a link to a website about the Olmecs

primary_sources.PNGA picture of a 'Stone Head' made by the ancient Olmecs as well as more information about ancient Olmec society

Olmec Civilization on Ancient History Encyclopedia

F. Chavin in Andean South America

The Chavin culture flourished in South America from 900 to 200 BCE. The Chavin culture was located primarily in northern and central Peru, with settlements located in the Andes. The Chavin were able to unite numerous local tribes by establishing a common ideology/religion. They did this through the use of stonework, sedentary agriculture, and temples. What is important to note about the Chavin is that it wasn't necessarily a society, but more a series of cultural practices. These practices would be the base of the development of other cultures and societies in South America.

A BBC article discussing the increasing complexity of the Chavin culture that is being unearthed by archaeologists.
Chavín de Huántar, Peru
Chavín de Huántar, Peru

II. The first states emerged within core civilizations.


A. States were powerful new systems of rule that mobilized surplus labor and resources over large areas. Early states were often led by a ruler whose source of power was believed to be divine or had divine support, and/or who was supported by the military.


What is a “state?” Who ruled the early states, and which segments of society usually supported the ruler?
A state is a group of governing bodies that come together to regulate food production and distribution. Early states were led by either military or religious leaders. Rulers were said to have connections to the spiritual world and be able to control nature.

B. As states grew and competed for land and resources, the more favorably situated had greater access to resources - including the Hittites' access to iron, produced more surplus food, and experienced growth populations. These states were able to undertake territorial expansion and conquer surrounding states.

Why were some early states able to expand and conquering neighboring states?
They had environment that were stable enough to support a food surplus. This allowed them to specialize and make an army. This allowed them to conquer other states. Other early empire used trade and industry to expand into other areas, but this was not conquering other societies as much as it was taking them in.

C. Early regions of state expansion or empire building were Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and the Nile Valley


D. Pastoralists were often the developers and disseminators of new weapons and modes of transportation that transformed warfare in agrarian civilizations.


Ancient Egyptian chariot
Ancient Egyptian chariot

[Teach one illustrative example of new weapons, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Compound bows, Iron weapons]


[Teach one illustrative example of new modes of transportation, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Chariots, Horseback riding]

Sculpture in U.S. House of Representatives
Sculpture in U.S. House of Representatives






III. Culture played a significant role in unifying states through law, language, literature, religion, myths and monumental art.



A. Early civilizations developed monumental architecture and urban planning.

What architectural forms did early civilizations produce?
Early architectural forms included grain houses to distribute food and religious buildings used in ceremonies. Rulers created lavish palaces for themselves.

[Teach one illustrative example of monumental architecture and urban planning, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Ziggurats, Pyramids, Temples, Defensive walls, Streets and roads, Sewage and water systems]


B. Elites, both political and religious, promoted arts and artisanship


What forms of writing developed in ancient civilizations?
Cuneiform developed in Mesopotamia, and it consisted of lines and dashes rather than an alphabet. Egypt had its famous hieroglyphs, many of which still survive today. The Phoenician alphabet originated on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. This simplified the language down to a small set of letters and spread literacy to a somewhat larger portion of the populace. Many other independent languages or dialects of widespread ones arose as well, though much less remains given their limited usage.

[Teach one illustrative example of arts and artisanship, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Sculpture, Painting, Wall decorations, Elaborate weaving]

C. Systems of record keeping arose independently in all early civilizations and subsequently were diffused.

What forms of writing developed in ancient civilizations?
Cuneiform developed in Mesopotamia, and it consisted of lines and dashes rather than an alphabet. Egypt had its famous hieroglyphs, many of which still survive today. The Phoenician alphabet originated on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. This simplified the language down to a small set of letters and spread literacy to a somewhat larger portion of the populace. Many other independent languages or dialects of widespread ones arose as well, though much less remains given their limited usage.

[Teach one illustrative example of systems of record keeping, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: Cuneiform, Hieroglyphs, Pictographs, Alphabets, Quipu]

Multimedia.pngClick here to see Evolution of Alphabets. The move from pictorial representations to symbols standing for sounds of speech revolutionalized communication. Here is an article on Cuneiform.

rotating gif.gifFor more on the development of written communication, see Massachusetts Grade 7.10

D. States developed legal codes, including the Code of Hammurabi, that reflected existing hierarchies and facilitated the rule of governments over people.


rotating gif.gifFor more on Hammurabi's Code, see Massachusetts Grade 7.11 or Hammurabi

E. New religious beliefs developed in this period continued to have strong influences in later periods.

What pre-600 BCE religions strongly influenced later eras?
Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, Legalism, and Guardianism.

[Required examples of new religious beliefs: The Vedic religion, Hebrew monotheism, and Zoroastrianism]

F. Trade expanded throughout this period from local to regional and transregional, with civilizations exchanging goods, cultural ideas, and technology.

How “big” were the pre-600 BCE trading regions?
Some notable trading regions included trade up and down the Nile, trade through Mesopotamia (a pivot point between Mediterranean, Egypt and the Indus Valley), and trade throughout the Mediterranean via the Phoenicians.

[Required examples of trade expansion from local to regional and transregional: Between Egypt and Nubia and Between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley]


G. Social and gender hierarchies intensified as states expanded and cities multiplied.


How did social and gender identities develop pre-600 BCE?
Broadly speaking, women were inferior to men in society. This status extended to everyday freedom, hierarchical opportunity, legal rights, and property ownership. Still, there were a fair amount of expectations. In early foraging and farming groups, men and women did different tasks, but both were valued in the society for their contributions. As rulers commanded civilizations, kings’ wives, advisers, and harem members could influence the decisions.
Multimedia.pngTo research ancient Mesopotamian economies, look at an interactive cuneiform tabletfrom the University of Chicago.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Chavin", accessed May 22, 2012,http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/108149/Chavin.

Women in River Valley Civilizations Gender roles in River Valley Civilizations


H. Literature was also a reflection of culture.


Flood Tablet. Epic of Gilgamesh
Flood Tablet. Epic of Gilgamesh

What was the relationship between literature and culture?
Though literature was usually limited to a small, elite portion of the populace, it serves as a guide when understanding ancient cultures.
The stories and epics combine mythical exaggerations of the people’s environment, religious beliefs and fears, and values of the society.
Literature was no doubt a symbol of high culture and education in the ancient civilizations.


[Teach one illustrative example of literature, either from the list that follows or an example of your choice: The "Epic of Gilgamesh," Rig Veda, Book of the Dead]

rotating gif.gifSee Influential Literature page The Epic of Gilgamesh


Epic of Gilgamesh Video
Overview of the story


primary_sources.PNG
Hymns from the Rig Veda

Enheduanna, the world's first known author